To my English teacher, if you happen to be reading this—I have no grudge against your class in particular. In fact, I think you are an amazing teacher. This post is simply my opinion about English classes in general, and how they differ between younger grades and middle/high school.


Okay, so this may seem like a shock to you guys, but English at school is my least favorite class. When I was younger it was a piece of cake, and we got to read a lot of fun stories. I always looked forward to English. But after a few years passed, we started reading older pieces of literature, ones I no longer considered fun. And I grew to hate it.

Trust me, I love to read. But I don’t like being told to read. Reading is something I am only motivated to do if I pick up a book with my own will. Heck—I’m not even the type of person to take book recommendations without asking first. I don’t want to read something just because other people say I have to or I should.

the problem with english class

“Read Chapter 3 and 4 by Tuesday. Make sure you annotate the text and pick four quotes relating to either of these morals: prejudice or selfishness. You will have to include these in your essay and be able to relate the quotes to the topic. The essay will be due next week on Thursday, and no—you cannot choose your own theme to write about.”

Sound familiar? Yeah, pretty sure that’s what most English teachers sound like. At least, from my experience so far.

I’m not trashing English teachers in any way! In fact, I’ve had plenty of amazing teachers that I still love today. I’d simply like to point out that English should also try to spike creativity within the young writers. Restricting students to specific themes, or only letting them analyze set quotes, in my opinion, is not the best method.

fun books? (chuckles)

You know what’s strange? All the things we are told not to do in common literature is exactly what I see happening in the novels teachers are telling us to read.

  • too much dialogue
  • data dumps
  • starting each chapter with setting
  • over-describing

I’ve seen all of these things showing up in the books we analyze for English class. The teachers would tell us that the dialogue is the most important part of a character, starting each chapter with setting helps to set the scene, data dumps are necessary for our understanding of the story, and descriptions open up all our senses.

Well guess what?

Not many people enjoy reading these novels.

You see, there’s a reason many novels do well. It’s because they are written in a way that readers are constantly interested. Older novels can be great as well, but think of how much writing has evolved over time. How much readers have evolved over time. I do agree that reading old literature is important, but why is it that English teachers choose the ones with the super long paragraphs and boring descriptions?

It’s because it’s harder to read, and it has a deep moral.

(sigh)

I don’t know how else to express what I’m trying to say, so let me end this post with a question.

Why are we being trained to read and write in a way that doesn’t spike readers’ interest?

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MelTorrefranca

MelTorrefranca

Hello writers of the world! I’m Melissa, the founder / designer of Teen Authors Journal. Although I create blog posts every Tuesday at 4 p.m. (Pacific Time), I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing! I’d love to learn more about all of you, so please don’t hesitate to shoot me a message! 🙂

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2 comments

  • We’re being trained to read and write that kind of stuff so that we stick to the status quo in society… ugh.

    And I totally agree with what you’re saying! All the essays and annotations and being told what’s important in books are such damaging ideas to put in someone’s head, whether or not they consider themselves a creative person or not. It’s infuriating.

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